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12 Wine Terms You Need to Know

12 Wine Terms You Need to Know

We hosted a wine tasting at our BOXT Clubhouse this week and one of the women summed it up perfectly. She said, “I love this idea! BOXT is perfect for me, because I taste a wine, and someone tells me what’s in it and why I like it – all the words you’re supposed to know-  and then I forget and I still don’t know why I liked it or what it was. I love that BOXT is just a number!”

We are all about simplifying fine wine. Numbering our wines rather than naming them or classifying them by varietal makes them easy to remember – and also it’s kind of fun.

You don’t need fancy winespeak to describe or enjoy our wine, (or any wine for that matter). But with BOXT, you just decide what you like and remember the Profile number – and you’re good to go. 

We also realize it can be useful (and even fun) to know a little bit about how to describe what you like (or don’t like) to drink – just enough to get you through the door at the bougie wine bar down the street, because we all know the three scenarios of  guessing when ordering wine. We get our glass, we love it and we take a picture of the name on the menu, thinking we’ll remember later why it’s in our phone. We get our glass, we can’t stand it, but we drink it anyway, because we don’t want to send it back and risk a rinse and repeat. We get our glass and we care so little about how it tastes we forget we ordered wine.


  1. Fruit forward. A wine that has a noticeable aroma and taste of fruit. Our Profiles Three and Six are fruit forward and oftentimes so are gamay, malbec and sauvignon blanc. Keep in mind that tasting fruit in a wine doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sweet – see definition for dry below.
  2. Acidity. Acidity makes your mouth water (think Granny Smith apples) and is felt on the sides of your tongue and salivary glands in the back corners of your mouth.

(as opposed to tannins, with which acidity is often confused).

  1. Tannins. These are responsible for the bitter or astringent feel of a wine, and they hit you at the back of your palate.. They can coat your mouth with a drying sensation (think when your lips stick to your teeth) and add complexity and depth to a wine – and FYI, tannins are not responsible for your red wine headache.
  2. Dry. A wine that isn’t sweet. Dry wines generally have between 1 and 11 g/L (grams per liter) of residual sugar. All of our BOXT wines have zero grams of sugar per serving except for our slightly sweeter Profiles Three and Six, which only have 6 g/L, so are considered dry. Generally wines like chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot noir are dry, while wines like gewurztraminer and port are made with levels of residual sugar that land them in the sweet category.
  1. Sweet. Wine that has been allowed to keep some of its residual sugars during fermentation. Though sweetness is subjective to the drinker, the strict definition of a sweet wine has sugar levels above 35 g/L.
  1. Floral. Most wines have some floral notes. Apple and citrus blossoms in whites, and lavender and rose in reds, are some of the most common floral aromas found in wine.
  1. Body: light, full and medium. The body of a wine is a measurement of how light or heavy it feels in your mouth.
    1. Light. Clean, crisp, white wines, like our Profile One, sauvignon blanc or pinot gris are light bodied. A light-bodied wine generally has less than 13 percent alcohol.
    2. Medium. Our Profile Four is a medium-bodied wine, so it’s not as light as our whites, but not as full or heavy as our Profile Six, which is medium to full. Medium-bodied wines have between 13 and 14 percent alcohol.
    3. Full. These are your big reds – cabs, zins, syrahs, and our Profile Five. Full-bodied wines have over 14 percent alcohol.
  1. Bright. This describes a wine that is higher in acidity (see number 3) and has the effect of eating something slightly tart which makes  your mouth water just a little bit. It is used to describe light white wines like pinot gris and gamay and is often paired with terms like lively or zesty.
  1. Crisp. Similar to bright, crisp wines will be higher in acidity, they have little floral or fruit notes and will not taste sugary or sweet.
  1. Smooth. A wine that goes down easy and is low in tannins, or balanced in tannins and acidity. This is a wine you can just relax and enjoy. See approachable. 
  1. Soft. Used to describe wines on the sweeter side, like our Profiles Three or Six, that feature ripe fruits and are lower in tannins and acidity. Soft wines are considered very approachable. 
  1. Approachable. This describes a wine that balances tannins (dry) and acid (mouth watering), is not complex, is widely appealing to different palates and pairs well with a variety of foods.

Someday, the bartender will know what you mean when you tell her you’re a Profile Two, but until then, we hope this helps you avoid the wine-menu roulette, so you can order a glass you know  you’ll like – without having to overthink it. 

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